We might not all end up in a heap on the floor. It may happen as we drive to work. Or as we shower. Today, for me, it was in the empty sauna at the gym. An unguarded moment when we are momentarily free of social confines and expectations. Those moments when we feel broken.
It’s the kind of broken that tears apart all the stuff that gets us stuck in toxic routines, repeating the same relationships and habits over and over, rather than diving into the scary process of trying something new and unfathomable.
I was in a draining, empty and emotionally void marriage that lacked of a strong connection for almost two decades. Shortly after I made the decision to leave, I found myself exactly in that place where everything was being torn apart. Many times I found myself in a heap on the floor. The first time was terrifying. I had no idea how or when I’d be able to stand up again. Fear set in.
No one wants to be in the deep grief, fear or sadness. Our instinctual reaction is to get out of it quickly. I tried to find solace outside myself, in distractions, in familiar ways of being and acting and loving. I found comfort. For a moment. Then suddenly I was bursting into tears again. There was more tearing apart to be done.
So now is the time, this time of confusion and brokenness and fear and sadness, to get up on that fear, ride it down to the river, dip into the waves, and let yourself break. Become a prism.
In essence, the need to leave my marriage came from a long time of knowing. A knowing that the stories of my past, that I had used to define my present, no longer applied. They probably never did. The stories and expectations that I held about what my life was to become were only that…stories and expectations. They didn’t follow who I actually was or who I sought to find or become.
But our stories, which begin with that very first childhood fairytale, are often told to us, not created by us. Told to us by a trusted person. And which we later use to confront life’s challenges and so often fall back on because of their familiarity.
The subsequent episodes on the floor became less powerful as I learned I would survive them. As I learned to just allow the feeling to be. I noticed where it resided in my body. I observed it. I asked myself when I first felt it. I asked it to tell me what story it belonged to. Sometimes it would not speak to me, so I would just let it pass.
Today as I left the gym, I had no idea where the sudden feelings of sadness came from. Later in the day, I had a chance to be in conversation with a trusted and knowledgeable friend. After leaving our meeting to go home, I was still not clear about the feeling I had in the sauna. But about half-way home I suddenly identified the story. I was tearing it apart.
And from the tearing apart comes an opportunity. To return back to the comfort of the old stories or to find the ones that are truly yours.
All the places where you’ve shattered can now reflect light and colour where there was none. Now is the time to become something new, to choose a new whole.
(The quotes come from an article which can be read in its entirety here.)